Ethanol Free Fuel Vs. Ethanol Fuel
In efforts to conserve resources and protect the environment, society is turning to other options when it comes to fuel. One of these options comes in the form of ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. Ethanol is used in various ways and for numerous purposes, including as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages. One of the most important, and debatable uses of ethyl alcohol, however, is as a fuel alternative. Ethanol fuel is used in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Most often it is used in combination with gasoline with the percentage of ethanol varying. Its origins as a fuel type dates back as far as the 1800s when Henry Ford used ethanol to power vehicles along with gasoline. The ethanol that is used in the United States today is made primarily from corn that has been fermented and distilled. In other countries it is made from sugar cane where it is used as 100 percent unblended fuel. Despite the prevalence of ethanol in today’s fuel, there is a significant amount of debate regarding its fuel efficiency, cost of production, and what if any true benefit it has on the environment. While many people feel that fuel containing ethanol ultimately offers great benefits to the environment, others offer reasons to consider its potential drawbacks in comparison to ethanol free fuel.
Ethanol Fuel Support
The use of ethanol fuel brings a number of important benefits. For one, ethanol is based on biofuels, such as corn, which is grown domestically. Because it comes from corn, it helps to decrease the country’s reliance upon foreign imports for the oil that is used to make gasoline. This reduction of imports amounted to nearly half a billion barrels of oil in 2011. Overall, America’s use of imported oil is down by almost half, since ethanol became a viable competitor to ethanol free fuel. This is an important factor in national security, as it helps the country become less vulnerable to events like the oil embargoes of the 1970s. The use of ethanol fuel also results in a reduction of harmful greenhouse and toxic gas emissions. These reductions can amount to over 100 million tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating over 20 million automobiles. Substituting oil imports with ethanol production is also a significant creator of jobs, with 55,000 jobs created in Iowa alone. To address emerging problems with ethanol fuel production, new higher-tech facilities are being built which will use the inedible parts of corn crops to make biofuel. This is intended to make it unnecessary to use edible corn for fuel.
Ethanol Free Fuel Support
The arguments against the use of ethanol fuel center around several factors. For one, ethanol based fuels have a lower level of fuel efficiency than gasoline. A gallon of ethanol has only 66 percent as much energy content as gasoline. Ethanol has also pushed up the price of corn, from $2 per bushel of corn in 2006 to $5 per bushel in 2012. Since everything from corn syrup to beef relies on corn, it has also pushed up the prices of food as well. The diversion of corn to fuel production has put pressure on the actual supply of corn, causing problems for global food security. In other nations, food crops such as wheat are increasingly being used for fuel production, with the same negative impacts of higher prices and reduced availability of food for people. The increase in the use of land for fuel crops has resulted in increased use of fertilizer, which spills into rivers. This has resulted in the growth of harmful algae which drains oxygen from waterways, endangering more complex life such as fish. The demand for biofuels has also resulted in the need for more land for biofuel crop farming, which endangers forests and other heavily vegetated areas.
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Check out articles written by Jeanne Longhorne.